Saracens 15 Northampton Saints 20: Tom Vickers’ review and player ratings

Stephen Myler scored Saints' first try at Saracens (pictures: Sharon Lucey)

Stephen Myler scored Saints' first try at Saracens (pictures: Sharon Lucey)

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As Saints’ victory song echoed around the Allianz Park press room situated within earshot of the away dressing room, it was easy to imagine them singing a few other tunes, too.

“Can we play here every week?” could have been one of them after Jim Mallinder’s men won for the third time in just four Premiership visits to the ground.

“Top of the league, you’re having a laugh!” could have been another as they called into question the status of the league’s table-toppers.

Or how about “What the ....... hell was that?” in reference to former Saint Nils Mordt’s decision to boot the ball out late on, ending the game and his side’s chances of scoring a late try that could have helped win the game?

Yes, Saints certainly had plenty of reasons to be in full voice at the end of an encounter that yielded such a vital victory in the pursuit of a top-four spot in the Premiership.

Much was and will be made of the fact Saracens were missing a host of England internationals.

Lee Dickson got Saints' second try

Lee Dickson got Saints' second try

The Vunipola brothers, George Kruis and Owen Farrell were among the group of key men currently with the national team as they prepare for Saturday’s showdown with Wales.

But it must not be forgotten that Saints also had plenty of stars that were not used at Allianz Park.

Calum Clark is out for the rest of the season, Dylan Hartley and George North are on Six Nations duty, Kahn Fotuali’i is not quite up to full speed yet following an injury and Christian Day, a staple feature of the side, was also absent.

Then there’s James Wilson, a hugely talented back, Ahsee Tuala, Tom Stephenson and many more, while Saints lost England lock Courtney Lawes after just 35 minutes in Barnet.

Tom Wood helped Saints dominate in the lineout at Allianz Park

Tom Wood helped Saints dominate in the lineout at Allianz Park

So it is not as though they weren’t shorn of firepower, too.

And with that in mind, this performance and win must be judged fairly.

Saints controlled large periods of the game and never looked like conceding a try against a side that still boasted the likes of England’s Alex Goode and Jamie George.

They largely shut Saracens down and the only way the home team were going to win was by outkicking the men in grey.

Ben Foden almost grabbed a try

Ben Foden almost grabbed a try

They couldn’t do it.

And tries from the impressive Stephen Myler, who has scored more points against Sarries than any other Premiership player, and reborn skipper Lee Dickson proved key.

Myler matched the hosts’ kicking prowess from the tee and Saints picked up a crucial four points.

Much has been said about how good Saracens have been this season, but it is a 24-game race, through wind, rain and international call-ups.

And at the moment, Saints are reaping the rewards of not having a huge amount of players picked by England boss Eddie Jones.

The presence of Tom Wood and Luther Burrell continues to prove to their club’s gain, with both men so impressive once again against Saracens.

And Saints will now be desperately hoping that this win and the one on the previous weekend against Worcester Warriors is the start of something good.

There have been so many false dawns during this brutal campaign, but Mallinder’s men will believe this is their chance to peak at the right time.

To prove all of the defeats were just blips on their journey to play-off glory.

If they can do that, they will have the best sing-along of all at Twickenham in May, but that is a long way off yet.

How they rated...

BEN FODEN

Just missed out on a try as he let the ball slip through his grasp at the crucial moment, but he attacked with real vigour and defended well... 7

KEN PISI

Was razor-sharp against Worcester a week earlier and he was impressive again here, attacking well and showing good intelligence... 7

GEORGE PISI

Got his 13 shirt back and looked happy to have it as he impressed in defence and also played his part in attack with some runs that kept Sarries on their toes... 8

LUTHER BURRELL

Another powerful display from the centre, who has been catching the eye of England boss Jones and will have done so again here... 8

TOM COLLINS

Scored a hat-trick against Worcester and did well again, while not grabbing the headlines on this occasion... 7

STEPHEN MYLER

An assured display from the fly-half, who kicked everything that came his way and showed good awareness to score Saints’ first try... 8

LEE DICKSON

The skipper is on an upward curve right now and this was another sparky display, which was crowned with a clever score... 8

ALEX WALLER

A steady showing from the prop, who was desperate to get his team on the front foot in the scrum... 7

MIKE HAYWOOD

The hooker has been hugely consistent this season and he was in the thick of things again, impressing with his relentless desire... 7

KIERAN BROOKES

The big prop is a key figure in this Saints team and he enjoyed another good afternoon in front of the England boss... 7

COURTNEY LAWES

Didn’t get much of a chance to make an impact as he was forced off with an injury, but did make a couple of useful carries before heading for the tunnel... 6

VICTOR MATFIELD

Probably his best display in a Saints shirt, the experienced South African defended superbly and bossed the lineout... 8

JAMIE GIBSON

Never fails to impress and the flanker put in another good performance here as the Saints back row stepped up... 8

TOM WOOD - CHRON STAR MAN

If only he worked harder he might be an England international, eh? Continues to make those comments from national boss Jones look stranger and stranger. Huge display... 8

TEIMANA HARRISON

Adds so much to the Saints team as his energy and aggression helped to push Saracens back, gaining his side vital ground... 8

Replacements (who played more than 20 minutes)

JAMES CRAIG (for Lawes 35)

Did a good job, as usual, with another plucky performance helping Saints to stand tall in the face of Saracens... 6

PAUL HILL (for Brookes 56)

Saints were happy to have the prop back from England duty and he certainly added to the team when coming off the bench... 6